Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

The Roundup: The Improv attack; TV news and picks for the week and more

"Real Time With Bill Maher"


HBO has renewed "Real Time with Bill Maher for 2 more seasons - Sam Jones/HBO


News In Comedy We were lucky enough to be at the Comedy Store's 40th anniversary party on Saturday, with performances from the likes of Louie Anderson, Dom Irrera, Garry Shandling, Bill Burr, John Caparulo, Natasha Leggero, Brody Stevens, Tony Clifton, Iliza Schlesinger, and countless others paying homage to impressario Mitzi Shore's comedy Mecca. Legendary managers like Barry Katz were in the audience along with countless TV writers, producers, and other comedians. Tony Clifton sang REM's "Man On The Moon" backed by a live band of lingerie clad musicians while a video "In Memorium" montage played. Nearly half a century of pop culture has been directly influenced by peformers who went through the hallowed/terrifying doors of the Comedy Store. Hopefully there will be a 50th anniversary.


The Roundup: 'In Plain Sight' at Paley; NBC juggling both Mitt & Sarah Silverman issues?


Robert Ascroft

Mary McCormack as stars as Mary Shannon in USA's "In Plain Sight" which will be featured at the Paley Center tomorrow night. - Photo by: Robert Ascroft/USA Network

Mitt Romney is considering an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" as if the opportunity has been offered. I'm sure, if anybody cares to look, that in the recent past Romney has decried the humor on "SNL," so would this be another "pivot" by his campaign? Since when did we allow "flip flop" to be rebranded as "pivot"? Hey "SNL" writers, there's a sketch in that concept right there. While last week's "SNL" with Josh Brolin as host wasn't terrible, it didn't seem to have too many high points either, other than some well-deserved and accurate California-bashing. Unfortunately the show somehow didn't properly leverage the considerable talents of Brolin. Live TV isn't easy and "SNL" should always get the benefit of the doubt, so we're looking forward to some new episodes.

Also in NBC-related news is the molehill-to-mountain conversion of a Sarah Silverman tweet that conservative media is trumpeting as the latest salvo in the liberal "War On Women." The tweet, a joke about consuming (and eliminating) a burrito with a reference to Roe vs Wade, has not spurred NBC to can the new series that Silverman is developing for the network. Terminating Silverman's show would definitely be a sexist move, as the network has kept Alec Baldwin employed despite his disruption of a plane flight that could have resulted in Federal charges.


The Roundup: News from the FX network upfronts + this week's TV picks & events

Justified 2012 Season Finale

FX Networks

Tonight FX's "Justified" celebrates its season finale before the team heads to NYC in May to pick up their second Peabody Award. Do not miss this finale!

A week and a half ago the FX networks held their spring upfronts at the Lucky Strike bowling alley in New York City. Upfronts, if you are not familiar with the term, are events where networks invite current and potential advertisers to see the demographics, statistics, and potential return on investment the advertiser could benefit from if they support the programming of the network. It's a businesss meeting, chock full of presentations and are usually followed up with a meal, drinks, and schmoozing with network executives, TV showrunners, writers, and talent. FX, as is typical of the network, takes the idea of the upfronts to another level by renting out an entire bowling alley, commissioning show-specific jerseys, and pitting teams of cast and crew against each other. Compare that to the stodgy rubber chicken events the other networks seem to be content with and you can understand how 


The Roundup: FEARnet premieres "Holliston," don't miss our DVR This!

Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" returns this Sunday

Showtime Networks

Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" returns this Sunday.

Keith Olbermann has been fired again, this time from Current TV, where he never really seemed to settle in, so it should not have been a surprise to anybody. The question I have for you is, should I transcribe an interview I made with former Vice President Al Gore, show host Cenk Uyger, and former governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm? The interview will not shed any light on the Olbermann situation so I'm concerned that it will appear as a fluff piece on the network. Let me know here in the Comments.

TV highlights of the week include a new NBC's premiere of "Best Friends Forever," a new "SNL," and the season premieres of "Nurse Jackie," "The Big C," and "The Borgias." Lots of great late night guests this week even though "Chelsea Lately" is on hiatus. Look for details in DVR This! below.


The Roundup: 'Mad Men' returns on Sunday; Marc Maron gets his TV show

Jon Hamm & Co. bring "Mad Men" back to AMC this Sunday


Jon Hamm & Co. bring "Mad Men" back to AMC this Sunday in a 2-hour premiere

The huge/massive/undeniably super-hyped premiere of the week is the return of "Mad Men" to AMC this Sunday in a 2-hour episode that airs at 9pm. AMC has been running hilarious, "Walking Dead"-themed "Mad Men" promos and the cast is all over as many different media as possible, including Jon Hamm on Jimmy Fallon tonight. Last week Christina Hendricks was on the JV Club podcast in a very lively and real conversation but I wonder if I have sunk to a new low of cynicism because I had the extremely fleeting thought that Hendricks' leaked cell phone pics were part of an elaborate promo for the show as it happened about 2 weeks before this premiere. Perish the thought, because, you know, Hollywood would never engage in such a thing. Still, it can't be denied that fans are ravenous for the show due to its long hiatus and a good lead off this Sunday could help it hold onto an audience that premium cable will try to chip at over the next few months. The return of such a great show can only be good for TV, regardless of the production and promotional shenanigans it took to make this happen. [Updated: Check out the hourlong interview with "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner at the end of this post.]